Comparing U.S. Climate Forecasts

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Comparing NOAA long-lead and CIC constructed analog climate forecasts for winter 2019-20 through summer 2020


Fig. 1-4: The Climate Impact Company constructed analog temperature and precipitation anomaly forecast for DEC/JAN/FEB 2019-20 compared to the NOAA long-lead prediction.

Winter 2019-20 discussion: The CIC and NOAA winter climate forecasts agree that the warm risk is in the West and East, disagree on southern warmth and are agreeable for cold risk in the North-central States. The CIC outlook is particularly stormy in the East while NOAA is stormy across the northern U.S. Both these forecasts suggest above normal snowfall and if so both forecasts could easily be colder especially for the Central U.S. to the Appalachian States.


Fig. 5-8: The Climate Impact Company constructed analog temperature and precipitation anomaly forecast for MAR/APR/MAY 2020 compared to the NOAA long-lead prediction.

Spring 2020 discussion: Similarly, the CIC and NOAA spring forecast are agreeable to anomalous warmth in the West and East U.S. but disagree on Texas where temperatures are suppressed by a wet climate according to CIC. The springtime NOAA precipitation outlook remains wet across the North-central to Interior Northeast U.S.

Fig. 9-12: The Climate Impact Company constructed analog temperature and precipitation anomaly forecast for JUN/JUL/AUG 2020 compared to the NOAA long-lead prediction.

Summer 2020 discussion: The summer 2020 outlook is hot according to CIC while NOAA is also hot except for the North-central U.S. The CIC forecast is wet across the Midwest States while NOAA is wetter than normal in the Mid-Atlantic States.

Guidance for energy risk analysts: Although the winter outlook does not show large areas of cold risk CIC is VERY CONCERNED about colder risk than indicated due to the general agreement of above normal precipitation across the northern states. This precipitation is most likely snow and snow depths could become impressive Midwest to New England. Snow cover is the catalyst to locked-in cold. At the moment, the Midwest (Chicago) to Northeast (New York/Boston) stretch is projected near normal but a colder solution once snow cover is established (JAN/FEB) is possible. Additionally, if the snow cover potential is realized the trigger for causing Chicago/Atlanta/Boston could outbreaks increases dramatically. Risk analysts should be aware of snow cover and daily 10-day snowfall forecasts issued by GFS and ECM. Finally, risk analysts should be prepared for higher than normal natural gas demand next summer to generate air conditioning for a hotter than normal regime.

Guidance for agriculture risk analysts: As previously indicated in CIC research, super wet soils in the Great Plains as observed in 1993 and 2009 is followed by a cold winter. As indicated above, if snow cover piles across the northern U.S. a colder winter could certainly occur. The reason forecasts are warmer than normal is due to the historical relationship between vast anomalous warm ocean waters (separate from ENSO) on North American temperature. Speaking of wet soils…CIC is projecting widening wet soils next spring as Kansas to Texas is wetter than normal while next summer is wetter than normal across the U.S. Corn Belt. There is no risk of Central U.S. drought for the 2020 planting/growing season.

Climate issues for industry: Potentially an expensive snow-plowing season for the Northeast to Upper Midwest including Chicago and Boston. The Great Lakes water level is very high; excessive precipitation forecast the next 3-6 months will add to that water level (especially during the 2020 melting season). Expect elevated water levels in the primary rivers of the East-central U.S. next spring. Warmer than normal ocean temperatures and elevated sea level off the Mid-Atlantic coast leads to increased flood risk in that region during the warm season in 2020 as rainfall is above normal and onshore flow can cause coastal flooding.